Coronavirus Update, March 10, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

We are writing to update you on our evolving plans for responding to the coronavirus as it affects our community. We want to keep our communications to you focused and to the point; that said, this is a long message covering a lot of territory and containing multiple links, including important information for families who are traveling over spring break as well as a link to our Instructional Continuity Plan.

Going forward, we would like to make it easier for you to navigate resources, instructions, and plans and have created a website page with all of our past communications as well as all of the links to resources, information about events, and so on; it will be updated regularly.

As you know, the number of school closures across the country grows daily. Educators are optimists and we are hopeful we will get to spring break beginning this Friday without needing to implement an emergency plan. At the same time, we have spent considerable effort over recent days preparing for the possibility of a closure, working in alignment with guidance from the Sonoma County Office of Education and other schools across the Bay Area. At this point, we have no way of knowing how conditions will evolve during the two weeks that students and teachers are away during spring break; however, administration will remain on campus during that time and will continue to monitor the situation and be in touch with you as appropriate.

Risk Levels & Impact
First, we have articulated the various possible risk levels and what each risk level would mean for us as a school in terms of impact on our daily operating procedures. We will use this Risk Levels & Impact document as a guide and in communication with you. Currently, we are at Risk Level 2 (moderate risk). For the most part, at this risk level, we are able to operate as we normally do. However, we would like to call out a couple items at this risk level that are pertinent to you.

Upcoming Events
Per our risk level assessment (see link above), all scheduled events this week will proceed as planned. We will provide access to both the Sophomore College Night on Wednesday evening and the Jazz Showcase on Thursday evening via livestream, accessible on ourLivestream page on our website.

Students, parents, and staffulty must be fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) before returning to school. Students may not return to school until 24 hours after vomiting or diarrhea ceases. Anyone with deep or uncontrollable coughing belongs at home even without a fever. 

Exposure to COVID-19
Additionally, families are requested to self-report to Ellie Dwight or Darren Duarte if there has been known contact with COVID-19. Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 must remain at home for 14 days after exposure. 

We highly encourage all families to cancel any planned travel to countries identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as risk level 2 or 3. Should travel out of the country be unavoidable, be prepared to self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return from any area determined to be at that risk level. 

Given that the situation continues to evolve, it is possible that countries not currently at this risk level may change in the coming weeks. Please notify Ellie Dwight or Darren Duarte if you are traveling to an area that is, or becomes during the course of your travel, identified as a CDC risk level 2 or 3 area. For more information about the CDC’s travel guidelines, visit:

Instructional Continuity Plan
Though there is no substitute for in-person learning and our faculty are not experts in online learning, we have developed a thorough Instructional Continuity Plan that will enable us to keep classes going in the event of a school closure. We hope that we will not find ourselves in this situation but we are prepared if we do. This plan is detailed and contains a revised daily schedule, technical and academic expectations for students, staffulty, and parents, and other important directives.

The College Process for Junior & Senior Families
Many of you are probably wondering how the coronavirus epidemic might affect your college preparation and research process, or your ability to make decisions about college if standardized testing centers close and/or travel and campus visits are halted. 

To date, no local test centers have announced closures yet, but to stay on top of this, test center closure updates can be found at the links below. We also suggest that you contact your test center directly to confirm that it will be open.

At this time, we know that a number of universities have suspended open-house events and tours of their campuses; the situation seems to be changing on a daily basis, and there are likely to be more closures announced. 

Our general recommendation is: Don’t panic, be patient, and follow the updates from each college. If you do plan to travel, buy travel insurance if the airlines and hotels have not put free cancellation measures in place.

We predict that colleges will put extra resources into making more robust information available (video-based welcome events, and the like) for those who cannot visit their campuses. In the past, when natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances have arisen, many colleges have loosened or changed their deadlines and schedules; there’s always the possibility that colleges will move their typical commitment deadline of May 1 to a later date, but no one has announced that yet. 

Keep Calm, Carry on
Lastly,  our community holds considerable, collective power to be a source of empathy, knowledge, and positivity for our families and the extended communities to which we all belong. Let us be our best selves in uncertain times!

As always, please be in touch with any questions or concerns and take care of yourselves and each other.

Janet Durgin, Head of School
2500 Farmers Lane 
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770

Sonoma Academy Is... the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.

Sonoma Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.